Mayor Cooper names new transportation director

Diana Alarcon

Diana Alarcon has been named director of Mayor John Cooper’s newly created Department of Transportation, effective January 10.

Alarcon brings more than three decades of experience, including launching a then-new local department of transportation in Fort Lauderdale, to the four-month-old Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT).

“For the first time, Nashville has a practical, workable Metro Transportation Plan and a department directly accountable for delivering it,” Cooper said. “Nashville is growing and attracting more investment than ever. To be a city that works, and works for everyone, we must keep prioritizing neighborhood transportation improvements and major infrastructure projects that serve us all.”

Seven months after the Metro Council enacted the Metro Nashville Transportation Plan, the mayor in July 2021 launched NDOT, beginning the national search for a transportation director. Faye DiMassimo, the mayor’s senior advisor for transportation and infrastructure, has served as interim director.

Since Metro Council enacted the plan, Metro Nashville has secured nearly $14 million in state and federal grants to fund its transportation projects and is positioned to leverage additional grant dollars to pay for up to 60 percent of the plan.

Alarcon has served as director of transportation and mobility for the city of Tucson (the second-most populated city in Arizona) since 2018. Prior, she was transportation and mobility director for the city of Fort Lauderdale (2011-18), where she launched Fort Lauderdale’s then-new department of transportation.

“With her deep experience in guiding cities through important periods of transportation and infrastructure growth, Diana’s leadership will be central to creating Nashville’s own mobility future,” the mayor said.

NDOT is responsible for the city’s transportation network at every level (neighborhood streets, crosswalks and sidewalks, traffic signal management and infrastructure) and works closely with regional partners to promote connectivity across the greater Nashville area.

“Nashville is a fast-growing city on the move, and I’m excited to join the mayor’s team as we work with neighbors, Metro Council, and community organizations to build the city’s transportation future,” Alarcon said.

Fort Lauderdale was Florida’s first city to join the global Vison Zero network of communities working to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries. In January 2020, Mayor Cooper committed to achieving Vision Zero status in Nashville.

In both Tucson and Fort Lauderdale, Alarcon led the development of 20-year strategic plans, blueprints for improving transportation safety and creating balanced, sustainable mobility networks in those cities.

She led parking and fleet services for Fort Lauderdale (2008-10) and began her early career as director of operations for Central Parking (which has its headquarters in Nashville) in Chicago.

In 2019, the Arizona Women in Transportation Seminar named her an ‘Outstanding Person.’ In 2018, the South Florida Women in Transportation Seminar named her ‘Woman of the Year.’

Alarcon is a member of the Women in Transportation Seminar, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Urban Land Institute, the American Planning Association, the National Transit Institute, the American Public Works Association and the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

She holds a Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt, has trained in senior management and environmental management at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida.

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